LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for TSE Archives


TSE Archives

TSE Archives


TSE@PO.MISSOURI.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

TSE Home

TSE Home

TSE  February 2003

TSE February 2003

Subject:

On the German in line 12

From:

"D.Gregory Griffith" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Tue, 11 Feb 2003 16:06:18 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (75 lines)

When looking at this odd German phrase, there are several things we should
keep in mind. First, let's not leave out two very small, but very significant
words "gar" and "echt" both are "flavoring particles" as I've heard them
described, though I admit I don't know if that's a bone fide linguistic term.
They are therefore difficult to translate, but they are important to the tone, and
I think they are what everyone picks up on when they describe a sense of
protest or fluster or irritation on the speaker's part. I agree with that reading,
and we should add those back into the translation, but without at first designating
a meaning for those intensifiers because they are in a certain sense empty of
meaning--they could be grunts or increases in volume on certain words etc.
they only take on meaning in relation to what they modify (I know that's true
of all words to a certain extent--they depend on context--but they are particularly
true of these "signals") because they function not as describers of the words
they modify like a _red_ car or a _long_ walk, but as intensifications of what they
modify, an intensified car, a car so car that you can't get more car, or an absolute
walk (pardon the absurdities in the examples). Here then is a word by word
translation without determined words for the particles:

Bin(am) gar(intensifier) keine(no) Russin(Russian), stamm'(come)
aus(from) Litauen(Lithuania), echt(intensifier) deutsch(German).

If we put it in a vernacular that also makes frequent use of such flavoring
particles, the function of the words might make more sense
to English speakers. Let's try California surfer-speak:

Dude, I'm _sooo_ not Russian, come from Lithuania, _totally_ German!

The word "gar" has a range of meanings indicating sufficient, absolute or
overdetermination of the thing it modifies. Though "Echt" is sometimes used
as an equivalent of  our "truth," it more indicates a state of perfection or an ideal
quality to the thing it modifies. There are several German words for trueness,
purity, realness,etc.--ones more "pre-loaded" with meaning than "echt"
(wahr, treu, rein, etc.). When used with negatives, "keine", "gar" takes
on the role (usually) of absolute or overdetermination: "gar keine Zweiful"
or "not the least doubt" or "certainly no doubt."
A translation of the utterance has to account for this sense of intensification
in both words:
Am certainly no Russian, come from Lithuania, authentic German.
Am no way Russian, come from Lithuania, perfectly German.
Etc.
If we want to place this phrase in some speaker and context, ie. who might
say it and why and what sensible thing could that speaker mean by it, I think
one possible answer is in the historical details that others have been
industrious enough to track down and supply. The person is a recently
and repeatedly conquered Lithuanian, verifying his or her sympathies with
the most recent occupying army--German--either as a response to a direct
question from some German soldier or German sympathizer, or as an overt
show of such sympathies to keep him/herself from becoming a suspected
"Russian ally" in the face of German occupation: "Am absolutely not Russian,
come from Lithuania, an ideal/genuine/ loyal German [citizen]"

I hope I got the history correct here, and we could have this type of scene,
if only briefly on the streets of Lithuania. Perhaps it even refers to a common
phrase you might have heard Lithuanians say either with deadly seriousness
or with irony or both during this occupation (??). I know it was true of people in
countries occupied by Hitler during WWII to make an outward show of
complicity or even sympathy when they were within earshot of German soldiers,
letting the enemy "overhear " that all is well, but in more guarded moments
conspiring to strike back at an unsuspecting target, etc.
Part of what the passage signals for me regardless of the actual explanation is
it mirrors or mimics the sense of identity confusions national/ethnic/political
(there are I'm sure others) that were and are present in Europe. To use a
couple of examples beyond the ones already and recently posted, many Serbs
want/wanted to have a nation "Serbia" that would in theory allow two of those
categories ethnicity/nationality to share the same name. There were/are enclaves
of German culture and language in Prague--what is a person's nation in that
case, what is their culture? They come from Prague, but are certainly not
Slavic, "echt ???" Rilke, born in Prague, wrote in German (and French) and
is considered a "German" poet. I'm not naive enough to have no clue as to why
this is how R. is designated, only that TWL reflects the fact that these things,
language, ethnicity, nationality, place of residence, culture, etc. don't stack
up neatly or coherently.
Perhaps this should have been a separate post. Oh well...

                                                                      --Greg--

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



PO.MISSOURI.EDU

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager